Dining with Dogs
Jacqueline Whitmore is not only an etiquette expert — she’s also the owner of two dogs, one of which, a 22-pound King Charles, pretty much goes everywhere she goes. She’s taken him to Bloomingdale’s, Office Depot, and even to her local grocery store, so long as he’s hanging out in his comfy dog carrier. But Whitmore, the Palm Beach, Florida-based author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin’s Press), says she draws the line at dining out with him if she hasn’t had time to check out the restaurant’s pet policy in advance, either with a call or a visit.
Etiquette For Dog-Friendly Restaurants
Know Your Dog
To have an enjoyable meal out, your dog has to be okay around crowds, noises, and strangers, Whitmore says. “Many people will come up and pet him while I’m dining out, and that’s okay because he is docile. But you have to know your dog’s personality before you head out to eat.” The last thing you want him to do is to snap at a couple at an adjacent table while eating or spending the entire meal sniffing around a fellow patron’s ankles. If your dog might be a snapper or a sniffer, consider enrolling it in a basic obedience class before you venture out.
Keep Your Dog’s Dining Needs In Mind
“Your dog is your dining partner,” Whitmore says. “When you order water, order water for him too. Just don’t assume the restaurant will supply a bowl. Be sure to bring one yourself.” Or, if you’ve forgotten one, most servers will bring a take-out container filled with water. Be sure to tip them for the effort.
Mind Your and Your Dog’s Manners While Dining with Dogs
“If your dog isn’t well-trained and won’t sit quietly by your side or at a safe distance, don’t bring him,” says Daisy Okas, a spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. “He shouldn’t lie in the way of the wait staff, bark, jump on people, beg for food from other patrons’ tables or pull at the leash.” Your dog should never stand on a chair or put any part of its body on the table.
Never Allow the Dog to Eat From Your Plate
“This is a major faux pas,” Whitmore says. “If I don’t have my dish, I’ll ask the restaurant for a plastic cup, and I’ll put that on the floor with food in it.” FYI: There are some health reasons to consider if you allow your dog to eat off your plate. “There could be different bacterial or intestinal parasites being spread from the dog to the plate,” says Susan Nelson, DVM, assistant professor at Kansas State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Manhattan, Kansas. “Plus, it just plain grosses people out.” Consider this: If you allow your dog to sit on your lap and feed it bites from the table, this sets a bad precedent. “This will teach your dog that it’s okay to be fed from a table, and they’ll then learn to beg,” Whitmore says. “I set boundaries with my dog. His place is by my feet — always.”
Make Sure You’re Dining with Dogs In a Safe Place
Many city health codes don’t allow a dog to be inside any outdoor seating area where food is served, so be prepared to tie your dog to a railing or fence while eating. “Neither scenario is ideal,” says Okas. “I would advise avoiding any restaurant where your dog can’t be tied or, at the very least, kept in your direct line of sight. If you are even slightly uneasy about the situation, I wouldn’t chance it. No meal is worth the headache of having something happen to your precious dog.”
Article written by Author: Lambeth Hochwald